December 2023



Thanks to those members who contributed photos and materials. After enjoying a SISKA event or paddle, please consider sending a short (100-150 words) summary article; for more information, contact one of us, . If you would like to start a regular column, please let us know!

Jane Jacek (SISKA president) and Tony Playfair (editor)

Convenient Links

PS: SISKA on Facebook

PPS: Siska’s Youtube Channel

PPPS: Siska’s Newsletter Archive - Mailchimp or Siska Newsletters Backup

PPPPS: Rocky Point Demolition Blasting Notices

Upcoming SISKA Events

Saturday, December 02nd, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Oak Bay Marina to Discovery Island Paddle
Saturday, December 09th, 2023 - 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM - SISKA’s Annual Chritsmas Party
Sunday, December 10th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Cormorant Point via Ten Mile Point Paddle
Monday, December 11th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Esquimalt Lagoon to Sitting Lady Falls Paddle
Saturday, December 16th, 2023 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Oak Bay Marina to Gonzales Bay Paddle
Saturday, January 06th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Brentwood Bay Ferry Wharf to Mackenzie Bight Paddle
Sunday, January 07th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Esquimalt Lagoon to Millstream Falls Paddle
Saturday, January 13th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Oak Bay Marina - Parking Lot to Gonzales Beach Paddle
Sunday, January 14th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Albert Head to Witty’s Lagoon and Sitting Lady Falls Paddle
Thursday, January 18th, 2024 - 9:15 AM to 11:30 AM - Tour of JRCC CFB Esquimalt
Saturday, January 20th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Relaxed Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Margaret Bay Paddle
Sunday, January 21st, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Esquimalt Lagoon to Millstream Falls Paddle
Monday, January 22nd, 2024 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Planning a Day Paddle
Saturday, January 27th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Albert Head to Witty’s Lagoon and Sitting Lady Falls Paddle
Sunday, January 28th, 2024 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM - Energizer Paddle - Telegraph Cove to Discovery Island Paddle

Upcoming NonSISKA Events

Victoria Christmas Bird Count - December 16

Everyone is welcome to join the Victoria Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on Saturday December 16, no birding experience necessary. Novices will be teamed up with more experienced counters as much as is possible. To see where counts are happening across the region, check out the Victoria CBC website. If you are interested in participating email Ann Nightingale at

The Christmas Bird Count will use eBird to track data. eBird training is available December 12 at 6 pm through this link

Siska December General Meeting Agenda

by Fred Pishalski

No meeting in December, only the Christmas Party. See you there!

2024 Siska Calendar

by Fred Pishalski

If you are interested in a 2024 Calendar you must order by December 3rd from Fred!

View samples and more info

SISKA - 2024 Training

by Jane Jacek

In order to help promote safe sea kayaking for SISKA members we are promoting to our club members the paddling skills development and trip experience offerings of all commercial kayak companies, who agree to provide these at a discount for all paid-up SISKA members.

Registration and payment for these will take place directly with the company involved and be subject to their normal customer policies. You will be able to book immediately, making it easier for your own planning and for the company involved. If companies provide discounts for gear, we will also promote those.

Of course, our SISKA instructors will continue to offer on-water skills development workshops and courses to members as well, and information about these will be circulated to members when available.

“Training” 2024 offers received are listed HERE by alphabetical order by provider.

Help Whale and Boater Safety - and maybe win a big prize!

by Jane Jacek

The Marine Education Research Society is conducting a 5 to 10-minute online survey for those who boat in British Columbia, be it with motor, sail, or paddle.

The insights you provide via the survey will help the future of education about boater safety and marine mammals. This includes the development of an online course.

The survey is at (or scan the code). Answers are confidential.

It is important to get many boaters to participate in the survey in order to understand what information about laws and best practices around marine mammals is reaching recreational boaters, and what the limiting factors might be.

Out of gratitude for taking the time to do the survey, there will be a draw for 4 BIG prizes. Please see below.

Those who participate in this survey can choose to be entered into a prize draw.

There will be four winners, one winner for each of the following prizes.

Partners: Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Research Program, Cetus Research & Conservation Society with funding support from the Government of Canada.

Explore Sea Kayaking GASKET replacement Discount

by Jane Jacek

Explore Sea Kayaking has a Gasket Replacement Discount for SISKA members. A big shipment of gaskets has just arrived. We continue to have a wide variety of sizes so no need to suffer with gaskets that are too tight. We have neck, wrist and sock gaskets. Drop me a line if you have any questions.

View more info here

Lesley McCallum

How the SISKA Paddler Coordinator Plans Club Paddles

by Gary Jacek

For members who are unable to join a club paddle, there are resources on the SISKA web site to help you safely plan your own trips.

Currents are a major consideration as the waters around Greater Victoria may be subject to strong tidal currents. A set of Current Atlas Lookup Tables is essential.

You can download these from the SISKA web site as follows.

Sign onto the site and click on General Interest. Under the Tides and Currents banner, click on Online Current Atlas Tables. Select and print the table applicable for this year.

With your printed tables in hand, sign onto the site and click on Members, then Documents, then under the Resources banner, click on Paddle Planning.

This will open a document which explains how the Paddle Coordinator selects paddle dates and locations based upon tides and currents. An attachment at the bottom of this document suggests possible launch sites and destinations.

Before you paddle, you should also check the weather and wind forecast as your trip date approaches.

Be sure to let someone know the details of your trip and your expected return.

Wet Launching From The Uchuck

by Julie Deans

Read Article

Safety Item

by Lynn Baier

Winter is just around the corner and I, for one, am starting to feel it. It’s important to keep warm if you want to keep paddling throughout the year. For me, it’s hands and feet that give me the most grief, so here are a few tips. Pogies over your Europaddle really cut the wind. I wear gloves inside as well. Fleece gloves inside plain dish gloves are a good combination too, and easy to switch out dry liners as well. For feet, Gail is having good success with electric socks that have a remote control. This is definitely an inside the drysuit method. Something else that seems to work well is the disposable hot shot warmers with the peel and stick backing. Keeping everything dry inside knee high neoprene boots is another option. Stay warm out there and I’ll see you on the water.

Tips From The Trips

by Debbie Leach


Melt Christmas candle ends to dip make-up remover pads in to make fire starters. And dream about beach fires next summer.

RAFT UP in 2024

by Debbie Leach

This year Comox Valley Paddlers initiated “Raft Up”. Fourteen members of CVP came down to potluck, paddle and stay with SISKA members in June. Thirteen SISKA paddlers went up to Comox and enjoyed their hospitality in July. It is great having new paddling buddies from their Valley. Nanaimo Paddlers want to get into the action next year.

Plans for 2024 are:

May 7-9
SISKA to Raft Up with Nanaimo Paddlers in the Nanaimo area

May 31-June 2
SISKA to host Nanaimo Paddlers

August 11-13
SISKA to Raft Up with Comox Valley Paddlers in their Valley

September 6-8
SISKA to host Comox Valley Paddlers

In the New Year, we will be looking for paddlers, paddle leaders, potluck provisioners, billeters and free RV parking places. SAVE THE DATES!

Cheers, Debbie

BC Marine Trails News

Working Together with First Nations

BC Marine Trails Site Assessment
by Fred Pishalski

One of the ongoing tasks of BC Marine Trails is to conduct Site Assessments on sites or potential sites that are not well-known or documented. Typically, a site is first reported by a paddler or data are taken from a guidebook, but that information usually needs verifying. Almost every site is then discussed with the local First Nation to determine whether they might have any objection (cultural, economic, environmental) to its disclosure for recreational use. Before entering into such discussions, it is important for BCMT to have reliable information about the site’s suitability and strategic value for marine trail continuity.

For the past several years, I have made Spring or Summer boat trips in a very small power boat to perform such site assessments, mostly in the relatively sheltered waters of the Strait of Georgia, Johnstone Strait, Discovery Islands, Sechelt Inlet etc. In 2023, a companion and I made 2 trips of about a week each from Powell River and Port McNeill, camping at remote sites as we traveled at total of about 550 NM and visited and documented around 200 potential sites.

While there are still lots of sites remaining to be assessed in the southern waters, BC Marine Trails’ focus is shifting to the Central and North Coasts. These areas are more challenging for all boaters and that suggests we adopt different approaches for Site Assessments.

Sometimes solo or group paddling expeditions can be highly effective in visiting numerous sites along a route, but BCMT’s experience with getting good site data and photos from such efforts has been mixed, at best.

For 2024, we are exploring the idea of a trip by either paddlers or in a small power boat (e,g, inflatable 15’ dinghy) supported by a ‘mothership’, with a scheduled (possibly nightly) rendezvous.

I would be pleased to hear from any member who has suggestions as to who we might approach to assist us with this, preferably on a volunteer/cost sharing basis (e.g. BCMT could pay for fuel and other boat expenses). If the mothership were already located in Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Pt Hardy or similar northern location, travel time and expense would be reduced. I’m also keen to find volunteers to assist as crew. This could be for any area i.e. southern waters in only a small power boat, as was done in 2023, or areas north of Cape Caution, with a support vessel.

Time commitment would be 2 – 6 weeks during May – July. The site assessment work is quite strenuous because it involves frequent landings on a wide variety of often slippery shores and purposeful wandering around rough sites, sometimes in heavy vegetation.

Join BCMT’s crew and see the world (or a small, beautiful part of it!) For more information, please contact Nick Heath

To Buy or Sell

For Sale:

Yakima ShowBoat kayak loading bar and rack. $60

Beth Haysom

Wanted To Buy:

SISKA’s Kayak Skills Course Partners

There are some fine discounts available from our kayak skills course partners for SISKA members who sign up for their skills training programs. Have a look HERE

Our partners are:

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